Susceptibility-weighted MR imaging for diagnosis of capillary telangiectasia of the brain

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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: BCT is a benign entity, whose appearance on conventional MR imaging makes its differentiation from neoplastic, inflammatory, or subacute ischemic disease challenging. SWI is sensitive to susceptibility effects from deoxyhemoglobin with excellent spatial resolution. Only scarce case reports have described the utility of SWI in cases of BCT. Our aim was to show the diagnostic value of SWI applied to a larger series of cases. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was an observational retrospective study of 33 BCTs in 27 consecutive patients examined from August 2009 to January 2011 with MR imaging, including SWI. Morphology, signal intensity characteristics, and additional vascular malformations were analyzed. Preceding or follow-up examinations were available in 18 patients with a median time interval of 14.5 months (range, 2-115 months). RESULTS: Twenty-five pontine and 8 supratentorial BCTs demonstrated distinct signal-intensity loss on SWI in combination with postcontrast enhancement. Mean lesion diameter was 4.9 mm (range, 1.5-17 mm). Thirty-nine percent showed slight signal-intensity changes on T1 and/or T2; the remainder were isointense to normal brain. In 30%, a prominent draining vessel was observed. Additional cerebral vascular malformations were found in 5 patients. CONCLUSIONS: SWI represents a valuable tool for confirmation of presumed BCT. Demonstration of signal-intensity loss on SWI in an enhancing focal brain lesion, otherwise unremarkable on conventional MR images, is highly specific for BCT, thus excluding serious pathology and reassuring the patient and referring physician. This is particularly helpful for BCT in less typical locations.




El-Koussy, M., Schroth, G., Gralla, J., Brekenfeld, C., Andres, R. H., Jung, S., … Kottke, R. (2012). Susceptibility-weighted MR imaging for diagnosis of capillary telangiectasia of the brain. American Journal of Neuroradiology, 33(4), 715–720.

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